Longevity and quality of life in women

Women smiling

Life expectancy is longer in women than in men, and this is because medical research has rarely taken into account the specific aspects of the female organism. We tell you what factors influence this survival.

The life expectancy of women in Spain is 86 years. If we look at the global average figure, it is estimated that a girl born today will live 74 years. Life expectancy is longer in rich countries because food, access to health care and medicines or the incidence of infectious diseases are determinants of health and life expectancy.

However, Why, under the same social and environmental conditions, do women live longer than men?

The genetics plays an important role and seems to favour women.Their XX chromosomes contain genes that help them stay alive because a genetic defect on the X chromosome can be replaced by the genetic "backup". This difference is demonstrated by the greater likelihood of male babies dying before birth, being born prematurely or being injured during birth.

If we look at biology, this difference between the life expectancy of men and women can be explained in the endocrine system as hormones are associated with an increased risk of heart attack in men or with the ease of infectious and autoimmune diseases. Women produce more antibodies and, on the other hand, have a stronger immune system that is "born" on the X chromosome.

In addition, experts point out lifestyle as a risk factor The gap is narrowing: tobacco and alcohol use used to be directly related to men, and while tobacco use in general is decreasing, women are increasingly problematic in terms of alcohol intake. In both cases, the risk of cancer is increased.

Despite this longer life expectancy, women do not live better than men. We identify longevity with a placid and healthy ageing but this is not the case among older women; most of them live with dependency problems and need help from others to carry out activities of daily living. As experts say, "women live longer but with many more minor health problems that detract from their quality of life".

What should we take into account to live with quality of life? At Biosalud Day Hospital we know that we still genetic factors that cause disease cannot be addressed, but with the environment that can activate those genetics. Prevention is not 100% infallible, but it does reduce mortality significantly, as has been proven in cases of breast and lung cancer.

In any case, we can take action on our health and "give more life to our years and more years to our life".. With a prevention programme or specific to the immune system we can clean toxicity from the body, acquire healthy habits, reduce intestinal and tissue inflammation, if it is affecting a patient.

The deaths from unnatural causes also influence the longevity of men and women. In 2020, 2,930 men took their own lives in Spain compared to 1,011 women. In terms of homicides, the rate is four times higher for male victims.

Diseases that affect men and women differently

Traditionally women have been excluded from biomedical research and the same symptomatological criteria were applied as for men. However, it has been found that in acute pathologies such as a heart attack, the signs of detection are not the same as in acute pathologies such as a heart attack.. Pain in the middle of the back, indigestion, jaw pain, nausea .... are typical warning signs of a heart attack, as opposed to the chest or arm pain that has always been considered.

Examples such as this one put the women most at risk because the symptoms of certain diseases are not taken into account in time.

The psychological health is also different for men and women. Diseases such as schizophrenia or autism affect men more, however, there are pathologies that have to do with the way in which women are socialised from childhood: anxiety, depression, eating disorders or stress. In this sense, the medicalisation of women with psychotropic drugs is double that of men, and after the pandemic, the figures have increased by 20%.

Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

Suscríbete a nuestra newsletter